This is the first in a series of shorter blog posts created to explore a concept or idea briefly, so “Something to Think About”. I realize that sometimes you don’t have time to read 10 or 20 pages and this is my way of providing a more frequent stream of ideas to provide something to think about. I hope you enjoy, and please post a comment and we can have a dialog..
The ironic thing about life is that as we age we think life will be easier. We can retire and do whatever we want, living a life of leisure. Several things get in our our way:
- Our expectation that our problems will go away. As human beings we think too much and set expectations that don’t coincide with reality on this earth. The over active mind will help create new problems for you, real or perceived.
- The fact that we are physical beings and will have to experience a decline in our body. This results in increasing issues with our health and pain. Now you can slow down this decline to some degree with exercise and nutrition, but you cannot totally avoid it.
- The very idea that I will wake up every morning seeking some form of leisure may end up getting old after a while. If this is your sole purpose, then you will soon find that you can only play so much golf, eat, sleep, walk, read, or whatever your thing is.
So you go from struggling everyday with all those normal responsibilities like making a living, paying your bills, dealing with difficult people, all the time waiting for retirement to simplify your life. In essence we are looking to the future to alleviate our stress and problems, so we can live the easy life. The reality is that if the purpose of our life is seeking pleasure then we are likely to end up disappointed and maybe worse depressed.
I’m going to be blunt here and I hope I don’t offend anyone. I really fucking hate the word retirement when used in the context of the attainment of the of easy life. As the Buddha taught life is not easy in fact it is filled with dukkha “pain and suffering”, much of it imposed on us by our perceptions. Often in life, a change in circumstances is just trading one problem for another. Maybe you will have less stressful problems when you retire, but they will be traded for an increasing awareness of your own impermanence. This increasing awareness of impermanence brought to light by declining health and your friends and family leaving this world, is an opportunity for great wisdom and appreciation for your own life.
I did mention this would be short exploration of the “Easy Life”, so let me summarize and bid you au revoir. Don’t spend your life wishing you could do less, seeking some hedonistic existence. Instead look at your new found freedom as the opportunity to double down on your purpose. Remember you woke up today, so you can spend time learning something, helping someone else, and doing something useful. Time to pay it back, to your family, to your community, to the world at large.
I would love your thoughts on retirement and the so called easy life. Let me know what you think in the comments.
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